Role of interferons in demyelinating diseases

  • B. G. W. Arnason
  • A. Toscas
  • A. Dayal
  • Z. Qu
  • A. Noronha
Conference paper


IFNβ-1b reduces the frequency of major multiple sclerosis attacks by 50 percent. Serial MRI scanning over the course of the clinical trial that led to approval of the agent revealed a significant lessening both in disease activity and in accumulating burden of disease in IFNβ-1b-treated patients compared to placebo-treated controls.

The mechanism by which IFNβ-1b exerts its beneficial effect in multiple sclerosis is unknown. T suppressor cell function fails during MS attacks and is persistently subnormal in multiple sclerosis patients with progressive disease. IFNβ-1b partially restores suppressor function in multiple sclerosis patients.

IFNβ-1b also inhibits release of lymphotoxin, tumor necrosis factor, and interferon gamma, at least in vitro. All three cytokines are toxic to oligodendrocytes. In contrast, production of transforming growth factor β-1 (TGFβ1) is increased by IFNβ-1b. TGFβ1 is an immunosuppressive cytokine. All of the above listed actions of IFNβ-1b could contribute to its beneficial effect. Perhaps all do.


Multiple Sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis Patient Suppressor Function Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Million Unit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. G. W. Arnason
    • 1
  • A. Toscas
    • 1
  • A. Dayal
    • 1
  • Z. Qu
    • 1
  • A. Noronha
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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